If you want to shop more consciously, ask yourself this simple question ahead of purchasing: Will I wear this item at least 30 times? The #30WearsChallenge was initiated by Livia Firth of Eco Age last year, but the idea remains a very solid one. It doesn't mean you need 30 totally different outfits to work around one key buy; it just means that what you're getting has the potential to be a winner in your wardrobe for some time to come and isn't such a fad that it feels outdated when a new season rolls in.
That's how I try to approach the high street, anyway. I aim to think about whether the new piece actually works with the other things I already own. I've made mistakes in the past snapping up lovely bits that are so at odds with the rest of my closet they don't see the light of day. Additionally, I ask myself whether something looks and feels high-quality enough to last. Do I genuinely love it? Can I wear it in different ensembles, and moreover, will I wear it at least 30 times?
There are a few stores where I find this strategy to be more achievable than others. COS, Mango and H&M have created some of my most frequently worn affordable items. In fact, as I type, I'm wearing a striped knit H&M dress that I bought a few years ago, which served me well during my pregnancy, postnatally and also now that I'm back to work and living in stretchy clothes. In addition, I've also gotten excellent use out of Arket and & Other Stories pieces, but today my focus is on the other three brands because their new-in sections are looking particularly strong.
Sitting at the more conceptual end of the affordable spectrum, COS will always be a go-to for classic items with a twist. But it's becoming increasingly good at delivering more adventurous and artistic pieces too, choosing unusual colours, unique fabrics and prints, and quite daring shapes.
Each time spring comes around, I lament putting a very good trench coat in the wash and destroying it. I'm still yet to fill that important hole in my wardrobe, and this one looks like a strong contender.
From spring and summer basics (like Breton knits, simple vests and classic denim knee-length skirts) through to house dresses and vibrant co-ords, H&M has quite a few comfy clothing areas covered very well.
Earthy, neutral tones in simple separates or flouncy dresses are really ticking the boxes. From ecru jeans and natty knits through to plain polka-dot midis, the below edit revolves around a simple palette, meaning everything can work nicely together.